Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #Bookhistory

Most recents (24)

So what I have been doing in #Besançon this past week you might ask? Well, let me tell you a journey of one manuscript copy of Flavio Biondo's Decades. A thread 🧵 1/

#AbInclinatione #bookhistory #FlavioBiondo
Ms. 855 in Bibliothèque d'étude et conservation in Besançon is a copy of Biondo's first decade, i.e. it encompasses yrs c. 400-800 of the Late Roman Empire. 2/ Image
Due to its script being southern (semi)textualis (or Rotunda), its origin is most likely in the Italian peninsula. It was made ante 1482 due to a colophon in the end, saying it once belonged to the widow of master Jean L'Orfèvre. This widow (Gillette) died in 1482. 3/ Image
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Some esoteric book publishing history trivia promoted by the recent death of Gerard Van Der Leun, a book editor at Houghton Mifflin in the early 1980s.

Earlier this week @xPamelaPainterx recalled how GVDL got in a bit of corporate hot water in 1982.

A #BookHistory 🧵
For decades the Houghton Mifflin colophon depicted variations on the image of a piper later joined with a dolphin, the Cetacean being traditionally used as a publisher’s logo since it was the trademark of printer Aldus Manutius in 1502.

In the 1950s minimal version of the colophon appeared in HMCo. trade book publications.

And when Gerard Van Der Leun published a humor book MINIMS by Tom Weller in 1982, the final page contained an inside joke.

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1/Centuries before the #printingpress took off in Europe, printers in Egypt employed a type of woodblock printing known as “tarsh” (طرش). Only around 100 of these tarsh prints are known to exist. They are also very cool, so here’s a 🧵on #Arabic block prints in @theUL. #Cambridge
2/“Woodblock printing” is a term historians use to talk about making a big stamp and slapping paper onto it. Block printers would carve wood so the negative space looked like whatever image or text they wanted to print. Then they’d coat it in ink and stamp some paper. Easy.
3/Except it wasn’t easy. It takes a lot of skill to carve the negative image of Arabic calligraphy into a piece of wood. I mean just look at this thing. It’s an amulet quoting the #Quran that would have been carried for protection. Most tarsh prints are amulets like this.
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That's an early modern street seller, selling broadsides and printed paper crowns for christmas.
Step 1 of #PaperCrownsForChristmas
The street seller is a detail of a painting from Joos de Momper the Younger, a Flemish painter active in Antwerp between the late 16th century and the early 17th century. So the paper crowns were likely sold in Antwerp or nearby.
Step 2 of #PaperCrownsForChristmas
Mobile sellers of paper products, like newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets etc., were a thing in early modern Europe. In fact, they were almost everywhere. And paper crowns were seasonal extras.
Step 3 of #PaperCrownsForChristmas

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Among the many reusages of paper in early modern Europe was certainly rereading letters. A short thread - using a 1780s painting from Marguerite Gérard - for those interested in #paperhistory and #bookhistory:

Step 1.
Let's start the look at rereading (and paper storing) practices of rich Europeans with details on the painting used. You see Marguerite Gérard's painting from c. 1785, nowadays in the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen - Neue Pinakothek München,…

Step 2.
Important paper letters were stored in tiny boxes - for rereading aloud and silently, alone and in company.

Step 3.
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One way to sell news in early modern Europe: combine extraordinary topics that were published elsewhere before, and then republish them in a new pamphlet.

Severe weather, a ghost story, a wonder flour!

Meet the pamphlet of 1684 here: #bookhistory
The selection and combination of three extraordinary topics was an easy task for an experienced publisher. To start with, you needed to buy and read other pamphlets or news prints of the time. Media echoes of interesting stoiries were omnipresent and easy to spot. Have a look:
The severe weather, with thunder, heavy rainings and lightning, was all over the German news in 1684. Even if you missed the news reports in newspapers, there were also extra pamphlets devoted to the topic available. Like this one:
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There is a paper story included into this famous German painting of 1830s from Carl Spitzweg. You may know the common interpretation of the Poor Poet (German: Der arme Poet): Attention to the material misery of most artists and their work!
Let's start a #paperhistory thread.
The painting came in three versions and the one remaining copy is nowadays in the Neue Pinakothek (Munich:…). Let's focus on the paper used and present in this imagined scene of a poor poet in his attic room in the 1830s.
Easy to spot in the room are a few big bound books. They may be bound in leather but they are printed upon paper, very likely before 1800. These are used books, old books, second hand books. Nota bene: The German antiquarian book trade developed in these days, #bookhistory.
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A scene of paper management and usages: an European early modern tax office was full of papers. Fresh paper sheets, old paper sheets, printed papers, handwritten papers, waste papers, etc. Let's have a deeper look, #paperhistory. A next thread,
Managing information became a paper business in Early Modern Europe. The expanding administration practices made secretaries, lawyer's offices, tax offices, etc. And they ran on paper, had to store paper, and deal with paper. It was a paper world.


Let's focus on the details. This painted mocking scene is rich of details for #bookhistory and #paperhistory. So many paper usages imagined here.
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At first sight: a young viola player, painted with oil on panel in 1637 by Gerri Dou. But take a closer look at the shadowy parts and you will see a lot of paper details and various book variations of the time. A hidden #bookhistory thread.
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The painter of this stunning art work, Gerrit Dou, is considered a master painter of the seventeenth century, so please enjoy the images of the thread. Dou painted this piece of art at age twenty-four, in 1637.

Enjoy and zoom the painting yourself:…

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Let's zoom into the bookish details. You see some big leather bound books, printed paper in large paper formats - maybe even “double elephant folio” paper, in 1637, these papers were among the largest paper sheets available on the market. And there is more ...

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Ian Bogost has a nice look at the UI affordances and areas for growth in the e-reading space.

A🧵 of annotations…
definition: bookiness

Does this only come out because there's something that's book-tangential or similar and it needs to exist to describe the idea of not-book, book-adjacent, or book-like on some sort of spectrum of bookishness.…
Some discussion of early book prototypes.
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What you see is a painted impression of the physical circumstances of an European artist in the early nineteenth century. Among other details and objects, a lot of paper is present. Let's have a a closer look, #paperhistory and #bookhistory. A thread.

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The painting is titled Léon Pallière (1787–1820) in His Room at the Villa Medici, Rome, and was painted in 1817 on oil. The artist: the French Jean Alaux.
Here is a link to more details:…

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The writing place. A place of various paper usages: a letter on the table, a few bound books, folders filled with loose paper sheets, unbound books, a few sheets of paper in-between. Also: an ink pot, and a writing quill. #paperhistory

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What an intriguing #earlymodern #bookbinding to come across with. A calfskin binding decorated with monks, bees and fleur-de-lis by blind-tooling. Moreover, it contains flyleaves of #medieval #manuscriptwaste: a beautifully #illuminated Latin manuscript @libservice BIB.JUR.001422
Because he incorporated his initials in the binding, we can identify the bookbinder: 16th-century Jan Van Ryckaert of Ghent, who made this binding for the St Peter’s Abbey in Ghent, as indicated by the handwritten provenance mark /2
#bookhistory #rarebooks
Some details of the binding:
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The Notary is a painting of mid-sixteenth century by Marinus van Reymerswaele. What we see is secretary work with paper: record keeping practices, writing, folding, storing.
A thread for #paperhistory and #bookhistory.

#AltePinakothek @Pinakotheken:

Notaries needed offices in early modern Europe, because they provided paper businesses: they used papers as a general service. In fact, producing evidence in a lawsauit is a paper practice. First things first: writing on paper on a regular basis is the main office work.

Let's focus on what writing was: a paper using literate practice that required - apart from paper - some more special materials, most importantly ink, an inkhorn, and a quill.

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This printed image appeared as one of the 1680s media reactions to the ongoing military tensions between Christian European states and the Muslim Ottoman Empire. #mediahistory #bookhistory

Copperplate print "Ein Kalb mit einem Türcken Kopf", 1683.
Whenever the general conflict and their military campaigns heated up in the seventeenth-century, media flows about Ottomans ("Türcken") found their way into print in Christian Europe. Broadsides and pamphlets, even a German newspaper devoted to the topic was published these days.
The depiction of an encountered Christian threat as a news-worthy (and good-selling) deformed animal or even “monster” followed in response to assumed news-buyer demand by economic-driven publishers. Early modern media coverage of relevant news events was in its core a business.
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Why do we call early modern Europe a paper age? Well, let's have a look at the hints given on this painting from early seventeenth-century by Jan Lievens. Source: (Alte Pinakothek, München).

A thread not only for #paperhistory and #bookhistory.
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Let's start with this instrument, almost hidden, but important for paper usages: the quill. More precisely: the feather quill, often a goose feather prepared for writing. Nota bene: the word 'pen' derives from penna, Latin for feather. No quill, no fun at the secretary.

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Writing letters and records was not only a content managing information battle, it was a material business too. In order to use a quill you needed ink. Your pen/quill would have to be refreshed constantly with ink. This inkwell reminds us of the material conditions of writing.
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What’s so fascinating about #bookhistory, you ask?

You have to think like a detective! And sometimes you are rewarded with a great find.

A 🧵about nice findings thanks to

-binding waste
-the @britishlibrary's collection
& a rare book catalogue from the early 20c

Survival is a tricky issue with publications printed some 500 years ago.

The smaller the books & broadsheets are, the trickier it gets. Mandates, like this one, are often lost completely or only survive in fragments.

This unique fragment was recently on offer in the ...
antiquarian book trade. It's part of a mandate issued by Maximilian I. in 1499.

Yet, the fragment misses the important part with the issue date.

(Those of you who are familiar with Maximilian’s publications know, that he issued quite a number of such mandates...)
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We will build an online reference work for the annually-published Early Modern German writing calendar, the #Schreibkalender, funded by @dfg_public and in cooperation with the "AG Digitale Forschungsdaten und Forschungsinformationen" @UniFAU.

A thread
Sorry, the what?

While being a characteristic part of the contemporary media ensemble in the German-speaking areas of Europe, the #Schreibkalender was produced from its beginning in 1540 in high quantities and reached very large audiences.
#bookhistory #mediahistory

The #Schreibkalender was a paper-based material artefact resulting from complex and specialized publishing and printing processes, and also a document of handwritten interaction. Within the typical dual content of the Kalendarium (containing astronomical information and ...

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Schools in early modern Europe were social spaces of learning and teaching, and above all, paper was present. A thread for #paperhistory and #bookhistory. What you see is an imagined schooling scene from the seventeenth century by Jan Steen.


Let's focus on the details.

It was not too uncommon to have paper broadsides or broadsheets glued to the walls. These printed upon paper products could be used for educational purposes too. The one in the painting seems to be carrying script, printed words. On paper.

In the upper right corner of the room we see the usual artifacts of the so-called book industry: a bound book, an unbound book, loose paper sheets in different formats, fresh and used papers. A learned setting and everyday business of dealing with paper and knowledge.

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Robert Hooke's "Micrographia" of 1665 invented and fueled the myth of the existance of a paper eating "book-worm". According to the inventor, the worm was "silver-shining" and "eats holes through leaves and covers" (p. 208).…

#bookhistory #bookworms Image
I am curious to learn if the non-Western book cultures invented the bookworm (or similar small animals eating books or paper/parchment etc.) as well? #globalbookhistory to the rescue. Thanks for spreading the word.
What kind of insect Hooke found around 1665 in one of his damaged books remaines unclear. However, Hooke's invention still fuels the idea of a living book thread, an ememy. "This Animal probably feeds upon the Paper and covers of Books, and perforates in them several small ...
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It is paper time, again.

The painting is from A. M. Wirth made in the late nineteenth century, and is on offer at the moment:…

What do we see, and what is worth focusing on? A short thread for #bookhistory and #paperhistory alike.

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To start with, what is imagined in the painting is a streetselling scene in a nineteenth century urban context. The painting is called "Beim Antiquar", and so we are looking at a second hand trade of an antiquarian. The nineteenth century saw the rise of this trade.

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But first focus on the far right of the painting, almost hidden at the walls: this is glued paper. Likely announcements, advertisements, single-sheet prints, broadsheets and broadsides. Paper being present in urban settings.

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Early modern Europe was a paper age! Let's focus, once more, on the paper usages of a period that mastered so many communication flows on paper. Another thread for #paperhistory #bookhistory

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Let's start with the obvious: people are writing in this painting and in general. The material they are writing on - paper sheets, bound blank books, etc. It is paper letters (and paper envelopes), paper pages in accounting books, in writing books. All on paper.

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Paper was used for many writing purposes. Yes, only a few could write, but many came into contact with paper. In this scene the "paper manager" is a lawyer. The many papers around him are showing the law business as one of the many paper using activities. Inky paper states!

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Blue crown = Sweden. A dog = the Turks. A frog = an injured French.

In and around 1645, at the end of the #ThirtyYearsWar, you needed advice, help and commentary to make sense of the imagery used in the media ensemble around you. Such advice was offered in the "Postilion".
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Three blacks in a yellow field = Spain and Portugal. Half moon = a Turk. Black clams = the city of Trier.

The codes needed to understand this visual language used in woodcuts and copper plate prints were orally explained and shared all over Europe. It has been called ...

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...the silent language of the illiterates. Imagery was understood by many - though often wrongly or incorrect or only partly, or with help by someone helping interpreting. And in war times, the codes of this imagery changed and developed rapidly.
The "Postilion" offered help.
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How to get your manuscript into print and published? Often authors needed to approach and meet a publisher. And this was regularly a painful experience for early modern authors. Here, in 1666, an author enters a publisher's office.
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The imagined scene is from a copperplate print of the 1666 book business mocking print by Aegidius Henning: "Gepriesener Büchermacher Oder Von Büchern/ und Bücher machen ein zwar kleines/ jedoch lustiges und erbauliches Büchlein..." (VD1:048499D)…

The publisher was mainly a financing agent, sometimes in early days running the print shop as well. He needed to calculate his material productions: how expensive was the paper needed? Do we have enough ink? Was the type ready? Workload: Worry, pay attention, write letters.
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The book has a cover!
The Library of the Written Word has switched the @Brill_History standard placeholder for this beautiful @Volvelle, image courtesy of the @royalsociety
Louisiane Ferlier and I are over the moon....
#BookHistory ImageImage
More to come but our deepest thanks go to the Volume 83 authors James Raven, Jeffrey Hopes, Rebecca Schoff Curtin, @ijalexander2002 , Yvonne Cornish, @katieparker18th , @cgspence , James P. Ascher, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, David Duff. Its been wonderful!
The volume is the result of conferences: Forms and Formats - Experimenting with Prints @bodleianlibs @OrielOxford @JesusCollegeLib with support from Centre for the Study of the Book and thanks to @w758
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